Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Old Testament Essays]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1010-991920150003&lang=es vol. 28 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Parameters of (South) African Old Testament Scholarship</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Erratum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Hannah's ordeal of childlessness: Interpreting 1 Samuel 1 through the prism of a childless African woman in a polygynous family</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The practice of polygyny (polygamy) is attested to in many parts of Africa. One reason among many for consolidating this practice in some African cultures is the emphasis families place on having male progeny. For many polygamous men, it serves as a way-out of childlessness and "sonlessness. " But what becomes of the childless wives in such polygamous marriages ? In those patriarchal African societies, where men are at the centre of the stage, the plight of childless or "sonless" wives in a polygamous marriage often goes unnoticed or ignored. By using the childless ordeal of Hannah ( 1 Sam 1 ) to mirror the plight of childless women in some polygamous African families, this article highlights the silent sufferings of such childless women and makes a clarion call for an informed and just response to their plight. In addition, it calls attention to the "silent" ordeal of Hannah in I Sam I; an aspect of the text that until now has received very little attention. <![CDATA[<b>The progressive-imperfective path from Standard to Late Biblical Hebrew</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article investigates the semantics of the Biblical Hebrew imperfect and participial predicate in Standard (SBH), and Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) from the perspective of diachronie typology. It focuses on what is called the progressive-imperfective path, a diachronie pathway characterised by a number of interrelated developments, which expand the semantic range of the form while preserving the default aspectual meaning of the prototypical progressive. A detailed description of the pathway, with implications for the diachronie as well as the synchronic analysis of Biblical Hebrew, is presented. It is shown that LBH represents a later stage of the progressive-imperfective path than SBH, primarily due to an increased use of participles with general meanings. The use of the participle with stative lexemes, however, is not diagnostic of linguistic change in Biblical Hebrew. This illustrates the fact that the established typological models have limitations when it comes to explaining certain features of the Biblical Hebrew development. <![CDATA[<b>Ants, spiders or bees ... and ticks? A typology of Old Testament scholarship in South Africa since 1994 within its African context</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Looking back over the past two decades of OT scholarship in South Africa, trends emerge that to some extent resemble the taxonomy of scientific endeavour made by Francis Bacon¹ in 1620: (i) Like ants, some of us prefer to collect philological data to engage with biblical texts primarily on a literary and synchronic level, (ii) Others are like spiders who on a diachronie level produce ("spin"?) new hypotheses about the (re)construction of elements of ancient Israel's past as history. (Hi) There are also the odd few bees who try to relate and even integrate synchronic and diachronie interpretations of biblical texts that will result in producing "theological-ethical honey" as nourishment for faith communities (especially in different African contexts). Bees can be found in widely diverging scholarly contexts: i.e. "theological-ethical honey" can manifest itself in different modes such as African, Black and Feminist theologies. A fourth metaphor, "tick, " is added to the threefold taxonomy formulated by Francis Bacon in order to stimulate some reflection on the agency of OT scholarship in South Africa. In conclusion, the distinction made by Antonio Gramsci between "traditional" and "organic" intellectuals is combined with Paulo Freire's concept of "critical pedagogy " to suggest a way forward beyond the past two decades of OT scholarship. <![CDATA[<b>Rethinking humour in the Book of Jonah: Tragic laughter as resistance in the context of trauma</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Several scholars have identified comedic elements in the book of Jonah. However, underlying these comedic elements are traumatic memories of the devastating violence caused by empires. So the reference to Nineveh is likely to evoke memories of the terrible cruelty performed by the Assyrians, coupled with painful memories of the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem that saw the destruction of the city and the temple in addition the deportation of thousands of its inhabitants. This article will read the comedic elements in the book of Jonah through Jacqueline Bussie 's notion of "tragic laughter. " Tragic laughter emerges out of a context of trauma and has the purpose of interrupting a system of oppression, so serving as a form of resistance and protest in the face of the devastating psychological effects of trauma. By transforming tragedy into comedy, tragic laughter plays an important role in fostering hope, so enabling the survival of the human spirit. <![CDATA[<b>The meaning and implications of Ruth 4:5: A grammatical, socio-cultural and juridical investigation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Uncertainty about the meaning of the problematic word compilation •-”- in its specific context in Ruth 4:5 creates a lack of clarity on the events which take place in Ruth 4. Such lack of clarity is reflected in the diversity of ancient and modern translations of this verse. It is uncertain whether the Moabite immigrant Ruth is described as also selling the land or whether she is merely seen as part of the sale transaction. The traditional view implies that a levi-rate marriage is involved in the narrative of this chapter. This interpretation creates multiple juridical problems. This article proposes that a usufruct is sold rather than land. Understanding and applying this legal concept can correct the misunderstanding of the verse. The problem is approached through a syntactical and grammatical analysis and justified in terms of the ideology in the book of Ruth. It is suggested that Ruth 4:5 should be rendered with, "The day you acquire the (right/usufruct in respect of) the field from the hand of Naomi and from (the hand of) Ruth, the Moabite woman, the wife of the deceased, you (also) acquire (her) in order to maintain the name of the deceased over his inheritance. " <![CDATA[<b>The good creation: An ecowomanist reading of Genesis 1-2</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In his creative activity recorded in Gen 1-2, God interacts with a formless, chaotic, space. It is stated that God began to speak things into being and that at the completion of everything he created; God saw that it was ""all" good. As a Motswana woman, I see in God's concluding remarks a hope for the future. In a world characterized by panic due to the impending ecological decline and crisis, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of all things. One can safely conclude that God loves all his creation, human, animate and inanimate. However due to the patriarchal structures of our world, there has been domination over women and the natural world. The structures of suppression and abuse of the women by men have modelled into those of humans over non-humans. In this paper I endeavour to show that there is an interconnection between the oppression of women, in particular black women and the subjugation of the ecosystem leading to its depletion. My argument is that there is need to re-visit the idea of an "overall" good creation. Domination over women, land and animals is against the creator's vision of a good world. An appreciation of women across all cultures, classes, races, sexual orientations etcetera, as part of the good creation can be a starting point for an appreciation and care of all God has created. <![CDATA[<b>Context and context meet! A dialogue between the <i>Sitz-im-Leben </i>of Psalm 23 and the South African setting</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es No doubt, Psalm 23 has stimulated a variety of scholarly conversations in OT studies. However, the bearing that this text has on the interpretation of the HB in South Africa is a rarely researched area in scholarship. First, in this article the author considers the probable dating ofPs 23 in order to determine the question of the authorship and intended audience of the text in question. Second, the author attempts to reconstruct the situation of the addressees of Ps 23, and argues that the situation of the psalmist mirrors that of the addressees of the psalm, both in the late exilic and postexilic period. Third, this article draws striking parallels between the contexts) from which the text ofPs 23 emerged and the context of the modern reader of the HB in South Africa. It investigates how a dialogue between the context(s) of the production of Ps 23 and that of the modern reader of the Bible may be established, and more importantly, it submits that the Sitz-im-Leben of the psalm in question could also have positive implications for South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>"...What of the night?" Theology of night in the Book of Job and the Psalter</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es A textual overview of the book of Job and of the Psalter shows an existential correlation between night and darkness that is naturally characterised by terror, horror, agony, oppression, pain, evil and wicked activities. However, the night, a symbol of uncertainty and fear is also portrayed as a time of revelation, of fellowship, and of divine activities, which neutralises in a sense the seeming polarity and tension between night and day, between nocturnality and diur-nality. The theological analysis of the night in both the book of Job and the Psalter shows Yahweh as absolutely in control of the temporal order and it is argued that this has strong implications for wisdom theology in particular and for the theology of the HB as a whole. <![CDATA[<b>Comfort in Second Isaiah: A study of the verb נחם</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The opening words of Isa 40:1 consist of a repetition of the verb -•- which means "comfort. " This study was undertaken due to the fact that the literature focusing on the verb -•- is minimal. Dictionaries give a summary about the verb and its root meanings in languages of Semitic background. The aim of the study was to prove that -•- is a theme in Second Isaiah, chs. 40-55 of the book of Isaiah. Most of the works that were used refer to the verb -•- and prefer to write about the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, the salvation and creation in Second Isaiah. The research focused on the information in theologies of the OT, articles and commentaries about the verb -•- in general and specifically in Second Isaiah. It included a study on three texts where the verb -•- occurs in Second Isaiah. The conclusion is made that -•-, "comfort, " is a very important theme in Second Isaiah combined with the themes of salvation and creation. <![CDATA[<b>Psalm 56 read within its literary context in the Psalter and its connections with King David</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The heading of Ps 56 connects the psalm with "David, " and specifically with the time when he was "seized" by the Philistines in Gath. The psalm can be described as a lament with a strong emphasis on trust in God and praise for his word. This article investigates the reasons why the editors made this connection with the experience of David and how the intertextual connections this heading creates modifies the hermeneutical horizon of the psalm. It is suggested that the psalm, in view of its heading, serves to exonerate David from the fear that he experienced according to 1 Sam 21:13. It also focuses the attention of its readers on the way in which David triumphed in a situation of unjust persecution through his trust in Yahweh in order to walk freely in praise of God. <![CDATA[<b>Suffering as separation: Towards a spatial reading of Psalm 11</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Every human being inevitably experiences illness, loss, failure, and disappointment. When it happens to a perceived-to-be "righteous " person, the problem of theodicy arises, the question whether it is just when deities allow righteous human beings to suffer. The existential crisis caused by severe suffering is a central theme in the Psalter. This study departs from the working hypothesis that suffering can be described in spatial terms and illustrates it with reference to Ps 11. Ultimately suffering implies separation from YHWH and his saving presence at-centre (Ps 11:2-3). In the universe as imagined by the poet there is but one solution: to take refuge in YHWH (11:1) at-centre. That confession, amidst the crumbling of personal security and comfort (11:2-3), draws the eyes of the poet to YHWH in his holy temple and in heaven. In 11:4 the poet's imagined space transports him from -”-. to --•-. There, in the presence of YHWH (11:7), he arrives at-centre, convinced that the wicked will finally be destroyed. <![CDATA[<b>Not free while nature remains colonised: A decolonial reading of Isaiah 11:6-9</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The Western colonial system not only colonised African human beings, it also colonised nature, with particular reference to Africa's wildlife. The colonial system disrupted the harmony that existed between human beings and nature by colonising both, thereby causing a divide between human beings and nature. On the basis of Isa 11:6-9, the argument in this article is that human liberty is intertwined with the liberty of nature. The African human is not free as long as Africa's wildlife remains colonised. Therefore, decolonisation remains incomplete as long the colonial matrix of power that divides African humans from nature persists. <![CDATA[<b>Literary lions with real bite: Re-examining the intertextual rhetoric in Daniel 6</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The story of Daniel in the lion's pit (Dan 6) is still one of the most well-known stories in the HB. The way the story has been captured in visual form by the "Old Masters" as well as contemporary depictions thereof in children's Bibles are indicative of its ability to captivate the imagination. In scholarly circles the story has also received considerable attention, most of which relates to issues of historical and/or literary nature. Thus, it has been proposed that the story in the HB may be the result of a mistaken "literalization" of a Babylonian literary motif. The present paper seeks to address the issue of such a symbolic understanding of the lions in the story. However, instead of looking to the Babylonian context for a literary antecedent, it is proposed that Israel's own literary tradition may shed light into this dark pit. The study of the metaphor of "teeth " in the Psalter points to a literary connection between the malicious accusations of the "presidents and satraps" (in Dan 6) and Daniel's eventual fate among the lions. <![CDATA[<b>The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah revisited: Military and political reflections</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es That Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis have been a subject of constant cognitive itch is a truism rather than fiction. Aware that the HB is an ideological text, the story of Jordan states notably Sodom and Gomorrah may need further reflections outside sexual frontlines but from the perspectives of political dynamics of the ANE. This paper explores Sodom and Gomorrah as a political and military story that turned theological and ideological. I opine that the fire that razed Sodom and Gomorrah could have been the result of military invasion(s). What is however intriguing is the interest of the biblical writer: at what points would the military or political afterlife of Sodom and Gomorrah meet with the ideological interests of the Bible writer? What interests does the writer have in Sodom and Gomorrah that he finds it necessary not only to conceal the historical reality but also invent ideas and imageries of Sodom and Gomorrah as condemned cities? The paper employs Clines' and Exum's strategies of reading against the grain and defragmenting the stories. In this case, the different stories of Sodom and Gomorrah in chs. 10, 13, 14, 18 and 19 are read critically and in conversation with each other. <![CDATA[<b>Calling leaders to account: A dialogue with Jeremiah 5:1-9</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Reading an ancient biblical text asking modern day questions is a challenging endeavour. In this article I attempt to engage Jer 5:1-9 in terms of leadership accountability. An analysis of this passage reveals that the prophet distinguishes between insignificant people and big people, probably referring to the peasants and the leaders in the Judean society. Jeremiah made it clear that he expected more of the leaders in terms of doing what is right; trust and truth. The leaders have failed in this regard and are therefore held accountable for the ethical demise of the Judean society. Because of their disloyalty to Yahweh and the covenant, the prophet announces punishment. In the light of what emanated from this passage an attempt was made to engage the Jeremiah text from the perspective of modern day readers with an interest in leader accountability and ethics. <![CDATA[<i>Von Priestern zum Patriarchen: Levi und die Leviten im Alten Testament</i>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300018&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Reading an ancient biblical text asking modern day questions is a challenging endeavour. In this article I attempt to engage Jer 5:1-9 in terms of leadership accountability. An analysis of this passage reveals that the prophet distinguishes between insignificant people and big people, probably referring to the peasants and the leaders in the Judean society. Jeremiah made it clear that he expected more of the leaders in terms of doing what is right; trust and truth. The leaders have failed in this regard and are therefore held accountable for the ethical demise of the Judean society. Because of their disloyalty to Yahweh and the covenant, the prophet announces punishment. In the light of what emanated from this passage an attempt was made to engage the Jeremiah text from the perspective of modern day readers with an interest in leader accountability and ethics. <![CDATA[<i>Gewalt: Die dunkle Seite der Antike</i>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300019&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Reading an ancient biblical text asking modern day questions is a challenging endeavour. In this article I attempt to engage Jer 5:1-9 in terms of leadership accountability. An analysis of this passage reveals that the prophet distinguishes between insignificant people and big people, probably referring to the peasants and the leaders in the Judean society. Jeremiah made it clear that he expected more of the leaders in terms of doing what is right; trust and truth. The leaders have failed in this regard and are therefore held accountable for the ethical demise of the Judean society. Because of their disloyalty to Yahweh and the covenant, the prophet announces punishment. In the light of what emanated from this passage an attempt was made to engage the Jeremiah text from the perspective of modern day readers with an interest in leader accountability and ethics. <![CDATA[<i>Wisdom Epistemology in the Psalter: A Study of Psalms 1, 73, 90, and 107</i>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300020&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Reading an ancient biblical text asking modern day questions is a challenging endeavour. In this article I attempt to engage Jer 5:1-9 in terms of leadership accountability. An analysis of this passage reveals that the prophet distinguishes between insignificant people and big people, probably referring to the peasants and the leaders in the Judean society. Jeremiah made it clear that he expected more of the leaders in terms of doing what is right; trust and truth. The leaders have failed in this regard and are therefore held accountable for the ethical demise of the Judean society. Because of their disloyalty to Yahweh and the covenant, the prophet announces punishment. In the light of what emanated from this passage an attempt was made to engage the Jeremiah text from the perspective of modern day readers with an interest in leader accountability and ethics. <![CDATA[<i>Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament</i>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300021&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Reading an ancient biblical text asking modern day questions is a challenging endeavour. In this article I attempt to engage Jer 5:1-9 in terms of leadership accountability. An analysis of this passage reveals that the prophet distinguishes between insignificant people and big people, probably referring to the peasants and the leaders in the Judean society. Jeremiah made it clear that he expected more of the leaders in terms of doing what is right; trust and truth. The leaders have failed in this regard and are therefore held accountable for the ethical demise of the Judean society. Because of their disloyalty to Yahweh and the covenant, the prophet announces punishment. In the light of what emanated from this passage an attempt was made to engage the Jeremiah text from the perspective of modern day readers with an interest in leader accountability and ethics. <![CDATA[<b>New books for review in Old Testament Essays</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300022&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Reading an ancient biblical text asking modern day questions is a challenging endeavour. In this article I attempt to engage Jer 5:1-9 in terms of leadership accountability. An analysis of this passage reveals that the prophet distinguishes between insignificant people and big people, probably referring to the peasants and the leaders in the Judean society. Jeremiah made it clear that he expected more of the leaders in terms of doing what is right; trust and truth. The leaders have failed in this regard and are therefore held accountable for the ethical demise of the Judean society. Because of their disloyalty to Yahweh and the covenant, the prophet announces punishment. In the light of what emanated from this passage an attempt was made to engage the Jeremiah text from the perspective of modern day readers with an interest in leader accountability and ethics.